MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Hurricane Lee underwent rapid intensification. From 11 p.m. on Wednesday to 11 p.m. Thursday Lee strengthened from a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph to a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 165 mph.
The criteria for rapid intensification is an increase in sustained winds by at least 35 mph in a 24-hour period. Lee crushed that. Lee is now a little bit weaker as the well-defined eye is no more. Winds are up to 155 mph making it a Category 4 storm.
The track for Lee remains unchanged. It is moving to the west-northwest at 13 mph, but it is forecast to slow down as we head into the weekend. Lee will continue in this direction for the next several days. Direct impacts to our area are still not expected. Models continue to take Lee sharply to the north by midweek next week. Winds are at 165 mph which means this system is already stronger than Hurricane Ian. The 11 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center keeps Lee as a strong Cat 4 throughout the weekend, restrengthening back to a Cat 5 is possible.
The sharp turn to the north is forecasted by Wednesday night. The models have been very consistent about a northerly turn keeping the center hundreds of miles offshore. Lee will be offshore and parallel of the Carolinas late next week.
Yesterday Tropical Storm Margot was named. It will remain a tropical storm throughout most of the weekend but is forecasted to be a Category 1 hurricane by Sunday night.
The track will remain out to sea, hundreds of miles east of Bermuda.